Decide on the stripe orientation, width, and where to start and end your pattern. How wide your stripes will be is up to you. You can make your stripes uniform or vary the widths to add visual interest to your striping effect. For example, alternating 3" stripes with 5" stripes gives the room a unique, contemporary feel.
Once you’ve decided on the direction and width of your stripes, you’re ready to start masking the wall. It’s a good idea to start the first stripe in an inconspicuous place, such as behind a door, just in case the first stripe isn’t exactly perfect on the first try.
To create vertical stripes, use a ruler or yardstick and a pencil to measure and mark even intervals along the top edge of the wall. Do the same along the bottom of the wall, marking the exact same measurements as the top. Continue along the length of the entire wall. Use painter’s tape to mask out vertical lines starting from the top marks to the bottom marks. These will form the outside edges of each of your vertical stripes.
Horizontal stripes are made in a similar fashion. Measuring with a yardstick, mark where you want the topmost stripe to be from the ceiling. With one hand, hold the yardstick against the marking you made on the wall. Use your other hand to place a level horizontally against the yardstick. Adjust the yardstick until it’s level, and trace a line with your pencil along the top of the yardstick. Continue creating this line in the same way across the length of the wall.
Using the same technique, create the rest of your horizontal stripe pattern as wide as you want your stripes to be. Unless you’re going for a specific design that calls for irregular-sized stripes, be sure that each stripe is the same width.
Apply painter’s tape along the lines you made in pencil on the “outside” of the lines. Score the outer edge of the tape with your fingernail or a small knife so the paint will not bleed under the tape. Continue the process until you’ve masked all the stripes. This will keep you from painting over the lines and ruining your base coat.